Occam's Razor
By HarryB
Published: November 4, 2008
Updated: November 4, 2008

Occam's Razor

Harry Buschman

I counted up my bankroll and it came to $1.63. Shorty did the same and his came to $2.40. We did the math and as near as we could figure it came to $4.03. We looked at each other a long time and finally Shorty said, "The sign in the window said $149.50."

"Long way to go," I mumbled philosophically.

"There's gotta be short cut," Shorty said firmly.

The way it all started is that me and Shorty were boyhood buddies and we decided that we were close enough that we could share a bicycle. I'd have it a week, then Shorty – I mean having a bicycle half the time is better than not having one at all. But even when we pooled all our money together it came to $4.03. We were short ... damn short.

Times were tough. Shorty's father wasn't working and mine was on half time. We knew we'd never get the money from home, and even if we raised prices on the work we did in the neighborhood we'd never get near $149.50. I carried old one legged lady Schroeder's bundles from the grocer for her once a week. She'd give me a quarter, and I didn't see how I could tell her the price was now fifty cents. Deposit bottles were a nickel and newspapers were ten cents for a hundred pounds; those were the facts of life; we couldn't change them.

Just when we had given up all hope of buying the beautiful new Schwinn 10-speed bicycle in the store window, Shorty came up with a great idea. He said we should play the lottery! A man he knew had won $87,000 in the Power Ball Lottery just two weeks ago. "We could buy 4 tickets at a dollar each, or buy a ticket a week for four weeks. What do you think?" Shorty was a whiz at math.

It sounded more promising to me than waiting until we saved up the $149.50. "We'd be too old to ride a bicycle if we waited," I said.

So that's what we did. We went down to Margolis's candy store store and plunked down two quarters, four dimes and two nickels and told old man Margolis we wanted one Power Ball Lottery ticket.

Margolis told us get out; "You gotta be eighteen to play the Power Ball, he said. Then he called us back and said, "Tell ya what I'll do. Gimme the money and I'll play it for ya. If you win I'll take a third."

The ramifications were too much for us to contemplate ... a partner ... hmm! ... but we really didn't trust old man Margolis, so we went to Father Molloy in St. Theresa's and asked him if he'd do it for nothing. Surprisingly he said yes.

For the next four weeks Father Molloy played the Power Ball Lottery for us and lost all four times.

I don't go to church any more.

©Harry Buschman